Phil Thompson hails Aston Villa striker Jordan Ayew's performance at Southampton

The 24-year-old Ghana international produced an impressive display in Saturday's 1-1 draw at St Mary's.

Former Liverpool captain and now Sky Sports pundit Phil Thompson has lavished praise on Aston Villa striker Jordan Ayew for his performance in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Southampton.

Villa had to withstand an early onslaught on the afternoon at St Mary’s as Dusan Tadic, Graziano Pelle and Jose Fonte all missed golden chances, before Joleon Lescott opened the scoring just before half-time when he tapped in a Jordan Veretout corner.

The Premier League’s bottom-dwellers could not hold onto their lead, however, as Oriol Romeu equalised in almost the exact same fashion as Lescott 17 minutes from time to ensure that the two sides shared the points.

Remi Garde’s men have now gone 14 top-flight games without a win since beating Bournemouth 1-0 on the opening day of the season, while they remain seven points from safety ahead of hosting Arsenal next weekend.

Nevertheless, there were certainly some positives to take from their latest result, with Ayew’s performance being the main highlight for Thompson.

After scoring three times in Villa’s previous five league games, the Ghana international could not manage a goal on this occasion, but he did impress once again with his outstanding work rate and gave the Southampton defence some real problems with his pace.

Speaking on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday after watching the match, Thompson said: “I must say, Jordan Ayew, who I thought at times in this Villa side wasn’t good enough for the Premier League, was an absolute star today. I thought he was excellent.

“When he played on the left, he got hold of the ball and showed great pace to go forward with it.

“And then when he went down the middle, when Gestede went off, he was again excellent using his pace. All round, I think it was a very good point for Aston Villa.”

 2015-16 Premier League GoalsAssistsKey PassesPassing AccuracyTotal DribblesDribble AccuracyDuels WonDuel SuccessAppearancesMins Played
Jordan Ayew 3 0 4 81% 55 28% 56 34% 11 768

However, despite picking up a respectable point on the road, Thompson was not left feeling much better about Villa’s survival chances, adding: “I still think there’s a lot wrong with this side. When they were on the ball in the first half, I was thinking, ‘just pass the ball forward,’ but all the five in midfield were just looking to pass it back – an easy way out.

“They grew in confidence but it’s still not enough. They look as if there’s not enough about these players to get them out of trouble.”

Ayew, meanwhile, has been arguably Villa’s most impressive player since new boss Garde replaced Tim Sherwood at the helm last month, starting all four games and earning widespread praise from the fans for his drive and commitment.

The summer signing from Lorient endured a slow start to life in England following his £8.5 million move, as he failed to score in his first seven appearances, but he now appears to be finding his feet with the claret and blues.

After netting a career-high 12 goals in Ligue 1 last season, it remains to be seen how prolific he can be in Garde’s side going forward, but his recent performances suggest that he should one of the first names on the teamsheet.

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